The trucking industry paid a total of at least $62 billion for diesel fuel in 2004, marking a $10 billion hike over 2003, the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) said.
This figure reflects an average national annual price that was 20% higher in 2004 compared with 2003. It is based on a conservative estimate that the total gallons of diesel the industry consumed was equal to that of 2003, ATA noted.
The trade group has projected that total diesel consumption surpassed the 34.6-billion gallons used by heavy trucks in 2003.
“It’s not only the absolute level of diesel prices that hurts trucking companies,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, “but also the volatility that has emerged in the market. Price volatility increased significantly during 2004, making it more and more difficult for companies to manage this huge cost.”